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CategoryEmbody

A home for nonfiction prose about the grueling, exhilarating, essential business of finding peace (or not) with the bodies we inhabit, considering age, sexuality, race, ability, gender identity, size, athleticism, addiction, illness, and the experience of occupying unfamiliar, hostile, and wonderful spaces.

 

The Verrazano Bridge Has a Way of Looming

The Verrazano Bridge comes at me in waves from the back seat of my parents’ car. Thick metal cables rise higher and higher until they stretch above my line of vision with the first tower, impossibly high. Then the cables dip lower and rise higher again. Inside the car, in …

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INFERTILE

Infertility, unexplained. The diagnosis was rendered unceremoniously: a box checked on a form I wasn’t supposed to see. After years of unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant, the answers weren’t coming, only percentages, protocols, and more procedures. I was quietly unraveling. At first, my wife and I tried on our own—frothy …

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Mr. Big Balls

After reporting to the Armed Forces Examining and Entrance Station, acquiring my packet of initial paperwork, taking the fourth-grade level I.Q. test, and providing samples of urine and blood, I accompanied sixty or seventy other draftees into a large room to undergo the mass physical exam. This was just another …

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In the Bathhouse

My grandmother is naked as she sits beside me on the stone step and pours water from the hot spring over her shoulders. She fills the white plastic bucket and dumps the steaming water over my head. I exhale in surprise as my skin turns bright red. She smiles widely …

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Hot Wire

We eat well. There is duck (freezer burned) thawing in the sink. I found it in the discount bin at the No Frills market. My husband, James, is making Duck A l’Orange for dinner. We stand side by side in our galley way kitchen, bodies close as we cook for our …

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Safely Pinned

I was eleven when I first felt the pain on my left side, somewhere around the circular, darker tinted spot of skin on my upper left torso. I had no words then to describe the location, so the doctor, a kind middle-aged lady, lifted my dress, exposing my large bloomers, …

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Carlos

While my aunt and uncle were downstairs drinking themselves to an early grave, my cousins invited me into their bedroom closet. Then they pulled out the magazines. Handed them around. Looked at me as if they were sharing the secret answer to everything. So, I flipped the pages, got my …

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Five Stages of Gray

I. Denial. Some say it’s a Celtic thing. Others that I’m “kissed by nature.”  You’re blessed.  Special. That mark is a stroke of luck.  Thick and unruly, the first gray hair stakes its claim when I’m 15. Socially anxious with acne to match, this leaves no place to hide.  My …

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The Thong

I lay blindfolded on a mattress on a hot day, wearing nothing but a thong. It’s not what you think. I am alone. This is research.   The thong is blue with red flowers, stretchy, sinewy. It covers my whole pubic triangle, but I don’t trust it. It’s too thin—the fabric is …

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Obsessive

You begin picking your skin at age fourteen—freshman year—shedding it like leaves falling from maple trees in autumn. Picking at your skin is an unconscious urge. You pick again and again: in class, at home, amidst birthday parties, during family dinners, on restless nights sitting in the humid heat of …

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